Our Future Citizens

Letters from Our Farm Women” was a long-running column in THE FARMER’S WIFE – A MAGAZINE FOR FARM WOMEN.

To encourage submissions, the magazine awarded a prize of ten dollars (a value of over $140 today) for the best letter published each month. All other letters published, about five per issue, earned a three-dollar prize. The topics were as deep as the writers’ insight and as broad as their imaginations. They were all sincere and thought-provoking. This letter from October 1926 addresses loyalty and citizenship at a time when the War To End All Wars–WW I — was part of recent memory. Enjoy!     


Letters From Our Farm Women–October 1926

DEAR Friends: A good citizen must first of all be loyal to God and country; then he will be both good and great at heart, worthy of trust wherever placed in life.

So, I try to go deep in the training of my children. To begin with, we ourselves are obedient to the laws of the land, thus setting them the best example we can. From the first, our little folks are taught right from wrong and that wrongdoing is always followed by its consequences. Love and loyalty to God, parents and home must be established first. Later, obedience, love and honor to teachers and Sunday School teachers and others who may be placed above them; as they develop, they are taught to apply the same principles in relation to County, State and National government.

In order to be successful in teaching citizenship, we have God in our plan; if His teachings are followed, our children will not be lawbreakers.

We observe special days, such as Independence Day and Flag Day, instill in the children’s minds the importance and origin of the day. We have always made a great deal of our own birthdays, so I think that is why every special occasion becomes a birthday to us. Christmas is the Lord’s birthday, not just a time to hang up stockings and eat lots of candy; Independence Day is our Nation’s birthday, not merely a day to shoot firecrackers and make a noise; and so on.

This is my own, my native land!

Sir Walter Scott, Poet (1771-1832)

Public celebrations are good and have their place but it seems to me that sometimes too much stress is placed on outward display. The leaders are very often people who do not hesitate to break the laws in many ways and children do not learn real patriotism from such. So, I feel that if the principles of good citizenship are to be implanted deep in our children’s hearts and souls, it cannot be left to outside teaching—we must instill thoughts of virtue, purity, the nobility of nature, sacredness of marriage and home and family life, the awful consequences of crime, and thus, with the help of Heavenly Father teach them, in cooperation with the church and school, to be good and useful citizens of our dear United States for “This is my own, my native land!” ~Mrs. M. P., Minnesota FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife – A Magazine For Farm Women, October 1926, Page 478; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota